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Researchers at the University of Calgary and SAIT are working on encrypting information for quantum computers, which are expected to be the next generation of computer development. (University of Calgary)

Researchers at the University of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology are working together to develop technology that will keep information safe for the long term — 50 years or more.

The research involves encrypting information for quantum computers, expected to be the next generation of computer development.

Experts say current encryption systems will become obsolete.

On Wednesday, the researchers sent data, which they say cannot be hacked, between the two institutions using quantum technology.

The two post-secondary institutions are trading the information via traditional telecommunications.

But Wolfgang Tittel, a U of C science professor, said the signal can be locked and cannot be copied or eavesdropped without it being noticed. An unbreakable quantum key is used in transmitting the information, Tittel said.

"Now these keys we distribute have the particular that if they are corrupted, they will tell us about being corrupted. That's a very powerful thing that you do not generally get in the traditional key distribution world, in the traditional telecommunications world."

So far, the researchers can send the protected information only within a 100-kilometre distance but they're working on extending that.

They are also trying to find the right firewalls, so the information can't be hacked through a back door.